It feels like the world has gone mad. For weeks now, all I see in the news are reports about the pandemic. People are getting infected by the thousands, death tolls are rising, borders are closing, events are getting canceled, and even government officials are getting nervous. The news grows more and more feverish as the days go by, resulting in everyone losing their minds and hoarding supplies.
At first I had no worries about the virus. We had pandemics more deadly than this before; each time we found a solution and life went on. But as months passed, it felt like everyone was at their wits’ end. Over what, I have no idea. But panic is more contagious than I thought it was, because now I’m anxious, too.
Yesterday, Friday the 13th, was the day I felt most worried. Everyone at work was on edge because of the pandemic. We had a concert slated for the 20th, but the artist has decided to cancel because of the growing fears. Everyone was scrambling for a contingency plan. The whole day was dedicated to emergency meetings about COVID-19 and its implications for our business.
While this was happening, news came in about my country, the Philippines, too. Our government has decided to put Metro Manila under lockdown, and the municipality of Cainta under quarantine. My dad and my brothers work in the former, while our house is located in the latter. Did it mean that my family had to choose between going to work and being locked in, or staying at home and being unable to go out? The virus has hit closer to home than I expected.
My partner had his own worries, too. He was growing stressed over the news in his home country, France, and upset over the many events being cancelled. We both couldn’t understand how this pandemic has caused such an upset over daily life.
I couldn’t concentrate at all yesterday. All I was hearing, and all that occupied my head, were the reports and my worries over it. Nothing felt normal. It felt like we were all in a Black Mirror episode: everyone was so oversaturated with news that it caused a global frenzy. I had to remind myself not to be swept away, that it would do everyone a disservice if I panicked. I managed to calm myself down by taking a long, hot shower, disconnecting from my phone, and watching anime over a dinner of spaghetti carbonara.
As we don’t see the solution being delivered any time soon, the best thing to do is to, as the higher-ups say, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and NOT PANIC. Because when you panic, people around you will be inclined to, too!